CLEVELAND – Josh Gordon’s wait is over, and so is his 2014 season. The All-Pro wide receiver’s career seemingly is in peril.
The Cleveland Browns learned Wednesday that Gordon’s indefinite suspension by the league has been upheld and he will miss at least 16 games for a repeat violation of its substance-abuse policy. A repeat drug offender, the 23-year-old Gordon had appealed the penalty, hoping it would be reduced so he could play this season.
League officials announced arbitrator Harold Henderson supported Gordon’s yearlong suspension for marijuana use. A league statement said Gordon’s “eligibility for reinstatement will be determined following the 2014 season.”
In the meantime, Gordon is not allowed to practice with the Browns, attend meetings or other team functions. He will lose his salary of $825,604.
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The Browns will try to somehow make up for the league-leading 1,646 receiving yards, 18.9 yards per catch and nine touchdowns Gordon produced last season.
“I’d like to apologize to my teammates, coaches, the Cleveland Browns organization and our fans,” Gordon said in a statement. “I am very disappointed that the NFL and its hearing office didn’t exercise better discretion and judgment in my case. I would like to sincerely thank the people who have been incredibly supportive of me during this challenging time, including my family, my agent, my union, my legal team and the Cleveland Browns staff.”
Cleveland’s receivers include former Seahawk Nate Burleson, who in June said of Gordon: “That type of talent, you want on the field, whether it’s at practice or game day. You only get so many guys every few years that redefine the position, and he’s one of those guys. He’s not your traditional receiver. There’s Calvin [Johnson] and there’s Randy [Moss] — these guys were hit with that special stick and God blessed them with attributes you can only create in video games.
“For him to miss any time, it’s a loss for everybody in general, fans especially.”
• St. Louis Rams coach Jeff Fisher remains angry over a Tuesday report by ESPN’s Josina Anderson that dealt in part with the “showering habits” of rookie defensive end Michael Sam, the league’s first openly gay active player.
“I’m extremely disappointed in her piece,” Fisher said. “I think it’s unethical. I think it’s very, very unprofessional.”
Rams officials have received apologies from ESPN.
During the report, Anderson said one Rams player told her Sam was “respecting our space” when it came to showering, and might be waiting to take a shower so as not to make teammates feel uncomfortable.
ESPN senior vice president Rob King wrote in an email to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch: “Josina Anderson is a trusted professional and a valued member of our team. What took place [Tuesday] was a collective failure to meet our standards, and we will all be better going forward.”
Compiled from The Associated Press, Akron Beacon Journal and St. Louis Post-Dispatch.